15/27

I was wholly immersed in myself and in my own fate, though at times with the feeling that the lot of mankind was involved as well. I found reflected in myself all the world's Iust for war and murder, all its irresponsibility, all its gross self-indulgence, all its cowardice; I had to lose first my self-respect and then my self-contempt; I had no less a task than to carry through to the end my scrutiny of chaos, with the now soaring, now sinking hope of rediscovering beyond chaos nature and innocence. Every human being who has been awakened and really has achieved consciousness has on one or more occasions walked this narrow path through the wilderness - to try to talk to others about it would be a fruitless effort.

 

When friends were disloyal to me, I sometimes felt sadness but never disgust; I felt this rather as a reassurance on my way. Those former friends were surely right when they said that once I had been so sympathetic as a man and a poet, whereas my present problematic attitude was simply unbearable. In questions of taste and of character I had long since passed beyond them; there was no one among them to whom my vocabulary would have been comprehensible. These friends were perhaps right when they reproached me with having lost beauty and harmony in my writing. Such words simply made me laugh - what is beauty or harmony to one who is condemned to death, who is running for his life between collapsing walls?